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Published On: Tue, Jun 24th, 2014

Eagles plot Argentina’s fall to end jinx

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Eagles_Argentine_MatchBy Albert Akota with agency report

When the Super Eagles file out at the Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, it will be with an objective to make certain their qualification into the Round of 16 at the ongoing World Cup in Brazil.

The Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, was quoted to have made this objective clear to his players.

“We have come a long way. We have won one match, got a draw from another. Our chances are brighter now in the group.

“We shall go out there to put up a fight of our lives. In terms of technical preparation for the game, we are ready,’’ Ben Alaiya, Media Officer of the Super Eagles, quoted Keshi as saying.

In response to a question over rumours that Bosina want to throw the group open, Keshi according to Alaiya, said that the issue was clearly for FIFA to deal with.

The President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari, on his part urged the Eagles to go all out against Argentina today to ensure the qualification of the team into the Round of 16.

According to him, he would be delighted with a favourable outcome as the match-day would coincide on his birthday.

“My birthday is on the day we are playing Argentina, and I will feel special if we defeat the Argentines.

“But more than that, a place in the Round of 16 will bring joy to the

Nigerian delegation here in Brazil as well as to our people back home.

“We have so many reasons to go all out today for victory. The Argentines have always beaten us at the FIFA World Cup, though narrowly each time. We also need to show our true strength as the champions of Africa,” Maigari said.

The Eagles also lost to Argentina at the 2002 Korea/Japan World Cup and 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Nigeria has lost 1-2 to Argentina in Boston, USA on June 25, 1994, and was again pipped 1-0 courtesy of a Gabriel Batistuta goal in Ibaraki, Japan on June 2, 2002.

When both sides met in South Africa four years ago, an early goal by Gabriel Heinze condemned the Eagles to a 1-0 defeat.

However, at the Olympic Games, the story was not the same, in Atlanta ‘96 in the U.S., Nigeria had beaten them to win the Olympic Games gold medal, a victory that left the Argentines flustered for many years.

Argentina U-23 team evened-up the Olympic record with 1-0 victory over Nigeria at the final of the 2008 Olympic Games in China.

The sweet memories of the 4-1 defeat the Eagles handed down to Argentina in a friendly in Abuja on June 1, 2011.

But importantly, the 3-2 defeat by the U-23 team that gave Africa the first Olympic football gold, in Atlanta, 18 years ago.

The victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Cuiaba, Brazil had taken the reigning African champions to second place in the pool with four points.

The Eagles must still avoid defeat against the two-time world champions in Porto Alegre to be certain of a place in the knockout stages.

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